THE DISH: Gang Gang
We’ve decided to kick off the new year with a cafe that is Canberra through and through. Gang Gang tucked away in the Downer shops is relatively new on the Canberra scene but man, have they made an impact.
If you haven’t been to the Downer shops for a while all we can say is…get there!
‘Cause what will greet you at Gang Gang is a cafe whose big heart and uber cool fit out embraces you from the moment you step through the door, so much so that it’s become a real hub for the community.
Owners, the three Conway brothers and born and bred Canberrans, Sam, Max & Riley, aren’t your typical cafe owners and didn’t come to the game with hospitality experience. But frankly, it turns out that experience isn’t a prerequisite for running an incredible hospitality business, ‘cause these guys have nailed it.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone would decide to open a cafe during the covid pandemic, but in 2020 that is exactly what the Conway brothers decided to do.
And far from hindering them, the older of the brothers, Sam says
“We love the people. Taking over during covid was in hindsight a great thing for us. It supercharged our connection with the community, so many people came every day, many came multiple times a day. They backed us so considerably and still do today which is such a gift.”
Prior to their foray into hospitality the Conway brothers ran a school for rock bands. And we aren’t even joking about that, they really did. As incredibly talented musicians, the brothers have been forming bands together for decades.
When asked about what it’s like working with your brothers, Sam says,
“It has been surprisingly good! I feel that playing in a band together for years, recording and touring set us up quite well, there are a surprising amount of transferable skills. We’re all on the same page for the big things, which helps, and know how to disagree with each other and find a solution.’.
When embarking on the journey of opening Gang Gang it wasn’t your average cafe the boys had in mind. The vision for Gang Gang was a place where people could gather, eat, drink and enjoy live music from a wide range of genres. And luckily, their background in the music industry gave the brothers access to local and national bands which they could bring into their space.
The vision for the cafe has grown in the last three years and their initial success has allowed them to expand their footprint which is now more than double the size of the original cafe. They have also been able to broaden the hours and offerings and now serve menus covering breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sam credits his head chefs Jasmine Sawa and Chris Lenard with their current philosophy of fresh produce served beautifully and simply. In Sam’s own words…”it’s a little bit boujee”, a place Sam had never imagined they would be when they opened with the idea of serving toasties.
And that my friends, brings us to The Dish. Appearing for a limited time on their summer menu, chefs Jaz & Chris have designed a dish that perfectly heroes the fresh tomatoes they purchase from Greenhill Farm in Bungendore. They call it Heirloom Tomato Toast and it’s a banger.
They really let the tomatoes do the heavy lifting on this one so they have kept the flavours clean and simple with garlic, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive crumb over two slices of Three Mills sourdough.
It’s a killer combo of flavors that’s taken to the next level by the fresh local produce and the care and attention the chefs put into every plate.
You’ll need to get down to Gang Gang before Summer is out, because once the tomatoes are past their absolute best, you won’t be seeing this one again.